Hurricanes coach Jason Holland was looking forward to the prospect of a calm day in Wellington for what was usually a competitive opponent who liked to move the ball.
"We always battle with them, they like to play with pace and if you don't slow their ball down they'll have a field day with their attack," he said.
"They like to play. They like to be on top of you at the gain line. We've got to slow their ball down - that is a massive part of it.
"They've got a pretty aggressive line speed and they will come hard at our breakdown," he said.
Caleb Delany will make his debut at lock. He had been 'banging the door down,' for an opportunity, and a knock suffered by Justin Sangster had given him his chance.
"He's come through the Academy system here in Wellington and we know him pretty well. He's been around us for a long time and maturing well. We're looking forward to him partnering Blackie [James Blackwell]," Holland said.
The frustrations the side suffered during their first 50 minutes against the Blues had been around not retaining the ball, whether through turning the ball over, not winning high balls or at the set-piece.
"Once we held onto the ball and put them through phases, that's what we tried to do for 80 minutes, but we got it for the last 25-odd minutes and got what we thought we would when we did. So, there's pretty simple pictures around our habits and what we can do with the ball and that possession," he said.
Julian Savea would return to the wing with Billy Proctor available in the midfield. Wes Goosen was unlucky to miss out, he said.
Centre Bailyn Sullivan said he had wanted to make a big statement to claim the centre jersey after joining the Hurricanes, and it had paid off so far. However, he hadn't expected a starting spot to come so quickly.
"You just turn up to training and do your best," he said.
He explained his part in the last-minute winning try to flanker Ardie Savea.
" It was an eyes-up play. I wasn't looking for anything but I saw an opportunity to get outside Rog [Roger Tuivasa-Sheck] and draw and pass on Stevie [Perofeta] so Ards did the hard yards and we were just lucky to get that try," he said.
The Highlanders would provide a different sort of challenge. They liked to get in opponents' faces defensively, and Sullivan said he was looking forward to their challenge.
Holland said All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara and hooker Dane Coles would soon be available. Perenara was close to returning while Coles was at least two weeks away from playing as his injured calf recovers.